As the saying goes, “Love is blind, but marriage is a real eye-opener.” Once you’re married, it’s hard to go back to the way things were. But what if you find out that the person you married isn’t who you thought they were? Are some discoveries so serious that you should be able to make it like the marriage never happened?
You Can Sometimes Get an Annulment
For a marriage to be legal, there are certain requirements that must be met. For example, the two people getting married have to give their free and informed consent. This means that they must know certain essential information about their future spouse before deciding to marry them.
So, someone can ask for their marriage to be annulled if they discover that their spouse lied to them about important parts of their life or hid this information. In other words, the person asking for the annulment wouldn’t have gotten married if they knew then what they know now.
Examples of information that courts have decided was essential include
- criminal records,
- career and education, and
- alcohol or drug addiction.
One court annulled a marriage because one of the spouses hid that he had been found guilty of murdering his ex. In another case, a court annulled a marriage because one of the spouses lied about being a doctor and had fake diplomas.
When a marriage is annulled, it’s like it never happened. So, in some cases, each spouse takes back their own property instead of dividing property. But a spouse who acted honestly can have similar rights to the ones they would have in a divorce.
It’s Not Easy to Get an Annulment
People often find out things they didn’t know about their spouse after getting married. But courts only annul the marriage in serious cases.
As mentioned, the information one of the spouses didn’t know before getting married must be essential. In one case, someone asked for an annulment because their spouse didn’t tell them they were divorced. The court dismissed this request because it didn’t consider this information to be essential.
Also, it must be reasonable for one of the spouses to not have known about an essential piece of information. In one recent case, someone asked for an annulment because their spouse had an alcohol addiction. The court dismissed this request because there were signs of this addiction before the marriage.
When an annulment isn’t possible, a divorce is. To find out more, check out our web guide Separation and Divorce: The Legal Impact of a Breakup.